Japan thanks N.S. boy for paper cranes
Navy presents gift during visit to Halifax
The Japanese navy has recognized a Nova Scotia boy who folded more than 2,000 paper cranes for the tsunami relief effort.
Aleks Burchill was handed a kabuto — a traditional Samurai headdress for boys — at a ceremony in Halifax on Thursday.
"It was fun and exciting. It's the first time this has ever happened to me," said Aleks, who turned nine on Sunday.
Rear Admiral Umio Otsuka, commander of Japan's naval training squadron, thanked the Dartmouth boy for his "moral support" after the tsunami hit in March.
Aleks plans to put the headdress in his bedroom, alongside other mementoes from his origami fundraising project.
Aleks decided he had to do something when he saw the devastation on television.
"People were hurt and scared and pretty much lost everything," he said.
Aleks had a book about origami. His mother told him about a Japanese saying that if someone folds 1,000 paper cranes within a year, a wish will come true.
He decided he would ask people to donate $2 for each paper crane and then give the money to the Red Cross.
"When we decided to do it we wanted to get other people to help so they could feel better," he said.
Aleks ended up making more than 2,000 paper cranes. He presented the Red Cross with more than $4,000 in May.
Aleks received his gift aboard a Japanese vessel that's in Halifax for a four-day visit.
The three ships from Japan arrived on Thursday as part of a training cruise for newly commissioned officers.
The training fleet was last in Halifax in 2002.